U.S. implements new travel rules for Cuba


The U.S. government on Friday will begin making it easier for Americans to travel to Cuba than it has been for more than half a century, the New York Times reported today.

Meanwhile, businesses continue to push the White House for more Cuba access, a Wall Street Journal report says.

Representatives of the National Marine Manufacturers Association returned in mid-December from a trip to Cuba hoping to see the half-century-old U.S. trade embargo with that nation lifted. It was the second trip the NMMA has made to Cuba; the first occurred last summer.

“The reason we conducted these research trips is because there’s so much misinformation about Cuba, the opportunities there, the trade embargo and what competitors are doing,” NMMA export director Julie Balzano told Trade Only Today. “We decided that — rather than form a strategy based on hearsay — we thought the time was right to go down and see for ourselves what the reality is for Cuba and future opportunities for our members.”

In the latest development, the Obama administration said today that it will implement a new set of regulations that take effect Friday and will considerably ease restrictions on travel, business and spending.

Under the new rules, Americans will be allowed to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special license from the government, according to the New York Times report.

Airlines and travel agents will be allowed to provide service to Cuba without a specific license. And travelers will be permitted to use credit cards and spend money while in the country and bring back as much as $400 in souvenirs, including as much as $100 in alcohol or tobacco.

On a parallel track, U.S. businesses are pressing the Obama administration to offer wider access to Cuba’s markets than it has signaled, fearing they could lag overseas competitors as the nation takes steps toward opening its economy, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The administration plans to provide its first set of detailed guidance in the coming days, a month after Obama surprised the world by using his executive authority to renew diplomatic and economic ties after decades of sanctions.

Amid the enthusiasm for new opportunities in Cuba, a column at MarketWatch.com offers a sobering view of the state of the Cuban economy.

“Havana is a ruin, a surreal time warp, exemplified by ancient cars and trucks from before the 1959 revolution. For 50 years there have been no imports of cars for private use. Houses and apartment buildings are run-down, with their occupants not having cash for needed repairs,” writes Barry D. Wood.

“Amazingly, most Cubans subsist on salaries of $20 per month. Those with more are Communist bureaucrats, workers in tourism with access to hard currency and those receiving remittances from abroad.”



Star brite introduces Marine Descaling Fluid—a powerful, easy way to descale raw water-cooled systems using recirculation. It saves time, energy, and a lot of headache, allowing for a faster, cost-effective return-to-service for equipment.

NAW Elects 2021 Officers

Michael Medart of Medart Engine and Marine takes the helm as chairman of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors board.

Caterpillar Names Global Manager

Alex Berg will lead the manufacturer’s pleasure craft and yachting segment.

Nearly 320K Boats Sold in 2020

NMMA says new-boat sales are at their highest level in 12 years, with all powerboat segments up 8 to 22 percent.

‘Injection of Capital’ for Cox Powertrain

The British company said it will use the $16.7 million to expand operations and ramp up production of its CXO300 diesel outboard.

Groupe Beneteau Releases Preliminary 2020 Financials

Revenues were down 15.1 percent for the 16-month period that ended Dec. 31. A full report is due next month.

A Modern Twist on Word of Mouth

The supercharged power of user-generated content.